How to wash dishes when camping

Let’s face it. Nobody likes to wash dishes when camping. But someone has to do it. And if you want to keep your campsite free of trash, critters, and bears, it’s key to keep your dishes clean when camping.

Cleaning dishes while camping

Camping gear you’ll need to wash dishes:

How to setup the camp dishwashing area:

Setting up the camp dishwashing area is pretty straightforward. Place the sink basins next to each other on a solid surface. I prefer to do this away from the main living area of your campsite where your tent is. Be sure to scrape off as much food as you can into the trash to make this process easier.

Fill one basin with water and some camp soap. This soap is a concentrate so you don’t need a whole lot. Just swish it around a bit to get the bubbles forming and you’re good to go. Start washing them like you do at home with a sponge. Old school way!

The other basin I fill about halfway with clean water. Don’t use too much so you’re not splashing all over the place and wasting water. Here you’ll rinse the dishes buy swishing them around getting all the soap off after they’ve been cleaned. Then I stack the dishes nearby on a towel and let them airdry.

If you have a portable water pressure pump and hose you can rinse them off quickly without having to use a second water basin! I have a RV water pump installed in the bed of my Toyota Tacoma with quick hookup ports and use this to rinse.

Water pressure system when camping
A quick connect water pressure system mounted in my truck

Done! Now you know how to wash dishes when camping.

It’s really not too hard. It’s best if you use your dishes sparingly so you’re not washing all the time. We sometimes bring paper plates for quick one-night trips and pack out the trash. But if it’s a multi-day camping trip while boondocking we like to use dishes so we have less trash.

This article is the first installment of our new Camping 101 series where we’ll go over some basics for brand new campers or experienced campers who love bouncing ideas off eachother.

Let us know your questions or camping tips in the comments below!

Header Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

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